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Despite media hype, Vick doesn't deserve to be early Heisman favorite

Anyone who's anyone in the world of collegiate soccer knows to disregard the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll at the beginning of the season. No one is silly enough to put stock in a system that starts off with teams ranked where they finished last year. They know enough to follow the simple logic that one season's plaudits should be based, strangely enough, on that season's performances.

The world of college football evidently does not subscribe to the "this season only" theory. At least, that's what you'd think if you followed any of the handful of Heisman watches being conducted by the sports media powers that be.

For some unfathomable reason, Michael Vick continues his tyrannical reign as Heisman favorite. Week after week, the celebrated Hokie sophomore swats down pretenders to the throne, despite the simple fact that he has done very little this season.

Related Links
  • Official Michael Vick for Heisman Web site
  •'s weekly Heisman Poll
  • CBS Sportsline's Heisman Watch
  • CNN/'s Heisman Watch
  • The man has 1,119 yards this season - 635 passing and 484 rushing. Fine stats all, but 1,119 yards of total offense at this point in the season does not a Heisman Trophy winner make.

    Vick is not even in the NCAA Top 25 in total offense. That group features names like Sage Rosenfels (Iowa State) and Mike Bath (Miami-Ohio). It includes ACC quarterbacks like N.C. State's Philip Rivers, Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler, Florida State's Chris Weinke, North Carolina's Ron Curry and Virginia's Dan Ellis. So far this season, Vick has not even been playing like the best quarterback in the Commonwealth, much less the best player in the nation.

    Vick has not topped 200 passing yards in any of his five games this season, even playing against patsies like Akron, Rutgers and Temple. He has completed barely half of his pass attempts. He is averaging 96.8 rushing yards per game - including a splendid 210-yard performance against Boston College - but had a mere 68 combined yards on the ground against East Carolina and Temple.

    And did I mention he only has 1,119 yards of total offense? 1,119!

    CBS advises Heisman watchers to "forget about [Vick's] middlin' stats," explaining that he "remains the favorite because of unparalleled highlight-producing ability and his team's high national ranking."

    Goodness me. I never realized the top college football prize in all the land was supposed to go to He Who Appears Most Often in SportsCenter Highlights. And if you want to give the award to the best player on the nation's best team, go right ahead. But right now that means Eric Crouch, since Nebraska is No. 1.

    Michael Vick may very well be the most exciting player in college football (though make sure you check out Dantzler before finalizing your decision). What I vehemently object to is the notion that the 2000 Heisman race is a mere formality before Vick hears his name called at the Downtown Athletic Club in December.

    ESPN's nine-person Heisman panel has Vick in the lead by a wide margin over Weinke, who has produced almost twice as many yards as his Hokie counterpart. It seems Vick can do no wrong. This week he had 271 total yards and scored three touchdowns but also turned the ball over three times. Purdue's Drew Brees, on the other hand, was relegated to the fringes of the race after a 281-yard, one-touchdown day.

    I don't have a ready answer as to who your Heisman winner will be. My gut tells me there is no way the media will stop fawning over Vick long enough to notice the other players who are having better seasons. And Weinke and Dantzler are just two of several players who have outplayed Vick to this point in the year.

    Vick may very well deserve a seat atop John Heisman's throne at season's end, but for now, the would-be emperor of college football isn't wearing any clothes.


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